My birth certificate name is not Sham Chewali. It is Michael Shaw (it’s an anagram). In 2011. I had a job which involved the possibility of being physically threatened occasionally. I was probably a bit paranoid but decided that one of the precautions I would take would be to not have my real name on my Facebook profile. I was trying to keep professional and private separate. Friends who knew me as Michael previously suddenly started to refer to me as Sham – an unintended consequence. Any how I’ve grown used to it. You can call me either.
I am a singer songwriter who was born and brought up in Bury in Lancashire. In 1987 I moved to Manchester.
I moved in with my first guitar when I was just 18. It was sharing a room with one of my new housemates, Brian. Unbeknownst to him, I used to sneak into his bedroom when he was out at university and practise strumming and singing at the same time. The first song I can remember learning was Dylan’s “subterranean homesick blues”. Without ever performing or owning an instrument I gradually became what I guess you could call a passable singer and strummer.
I had already met my best friend and long time collaborator Adam at college. Adam found a spare room for me only a few doors down from his student house in Premier Street in Moss Side. Which is when my illicit affair with Brian’s guitar began.
A year later, our first song was written. “Idiot for a living” was co-written with Adam. That song appears on the bands EP entitled “Idiots for a Living”. For a time it was on Spotify and received over 2,000 streams. However, after a while I took it down.
You can still buy it direct though. Drop me an email if you’re interested.Drop me an email if you’re interested.
After splitting up with Brian’s guitar I spent the following Summer pulling pints in a pub in Slough. I fell for an old knackered nylon string guitar which I bought from one of the regulars for £20. Another Summer spent in a bedroom strumming. I resurfaced in Manchester the following September keen to impress Adam with the other 5 chords I’d managed to learn (2 of which I’ve since discarded).
We formed the band fishonastick and in the years that followed we played all over the country in such prestigious venues as the Mean Fiddler, Band on the Wall and shared the billing with bands like Fairport Convention, the Strawbs, the Animals and played festivals such as the Head for the Hills and Party in the Park with the likes of Beth Orton and the Waterboys and the Inspiral Carpets.
I like to think that listening to my solo album you can hear the influences of my Lancashire and Manchester past and more than half a lifetime spent in and around the music venues of England. It’s what I’m currently calling Alt-Folk or Indie Folk (I struggle with any categorization to be honest). People have so far mentioned early REM, Richard Hawley and Guy Garvey and I like to think those comparisons sit comfortably with what I admit are sometimes quite downbeat observations you may find within my lyrics.
“Another lifestyle will catch your eye” chugs along quite purposefully as do “waiting for my train”, “endeavour” and “I’m coming through”, and “Hope”. ”Rolling in” was written and recorded on one instrument in about 15 minutes.
The first single is going to be “NEVER FORGET NOW”. It’s available on here as a free download. I wrote it about 15 years ago and I’ve never known how to make it whole if that makes sense? Finishing that tune and the amazing feedback I got from it has been the catalyst for the entire album. The way that song feels now is what has been giving me the confidence I needed to get the album finished and released. I honestly can’t wait to play it to people and for them to tell me what they think. Good or bad. It’s shit or bust time!!
The message of the single Never Forget Now
“Choosing to live in the moment is a luxury, when for others it’s not a matter of choice”.
I hope you enjoy it.